Saturday, July 31, 2010

It's like Braid made by depressed norwegian animators

There's an XBLA title doing the rounds at the moment doing extremely well on Metacritic that's had praise heaped upon it from many quarters, not least of all from Graham Linehan on Twitter, a man of fine gaming taste.  I still blame him for me buying Settlers Of Catan, a maddeningly addictive board game.

This game is Limbo, a new platform game from the indepedent Danish Playdead Studios.

The plot (for what it's worth) involves your character, a small boy, looking for his lost sister.  The six hours or so of gameplay involve your characters silhouette running from left to right through a scrolling world made entirely of more silhouettes.   So far, so vague.  It's essentially a selection of fiendish physics puzzles, but that description doesn't do it justice.

And nor do still screenshots of it, for that matter.  You have to see it moving.  It reminds me of the odd foreign cartoons you used to catch at the crack of dawn back when they used to secrete odd little gems on telly just to fill the schedule - you know the ones, they'd typically involve some hand puppet type animation with characters jittering away to each other in some odd language before something horrible happened to one of them.  And then you wouldn't be able to sleep for days.  It's as terrifiying as anything they ever put in any of the public information films from the 1970s.

Everything in this mysterious world wants you dead, and you will die a lot.  Maybe not as much as in Demons Souls, but you'll meet your maker in a variety of grisly ways - if anything the bared-down graphics and style make each death more painful than the last.  You will be impaled on spikes, crushed between two giant cogs, crushed by a rolling ball, electrocuted, impaled by the huge leg of a giant (and I mean giant) spider.  It's one of those games where you'll die from doing something you couldn't possibly have avoided, but then know to avoid doing that next time - I usually hate games like that - it all seems desperately unfair - but for some reason in Limbo it works.

To reveal any more of the games lovely moments would be unfair - You need to discover them for yourself.

To repeat something Graham Linehan said, "f you're afraid of spiders, don't play Limbo. If you're not afraid of spiders, Limbo will make you afraid of spiders."

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